Check out the website:  Look at the recent Political Notes and Len’s Letters on the website Incumbents: 

April 4th , 2022          Len’s Letter #49  Democrats to support in Republican tilting districts

2022                             General Election

My measure for district lean is the website Five Thirty Eight’s calculation of lean.  Using that measure, I suggest that any lean that is +4 or less might be thought of as a toss-up or at most a tilt in that direction.

Each of the Democratic candidates listed below can win.  Look at them carefully, then some resources to as many as you can; to those who appeal to you.  When Democrats win districts like this, they win the House of Representatives.  These seats are a building block for a majority.

INCUMBENTS. Six Democrats.  Let’s reelect every one of them.

MI 08 R+1 Dan Kildee   

Dan Kildee MI 08 His old MI 05 district was rated D+1. It ran in a relatively straight line north from Flint to, if there were one, the joint below the tip of Michigan’s mitten. The new R+1 MI 08 doesn’t go as far north. Instead, it pushes a little bit west.

Dan Kildee is a friend of a Michigan icon — Michael Moore. Their friendship goes back to high school.  He did not do it as a joke, but just out of high school, Dan Kildee ran and won election to the Flint schoolboard.  He continued in school and in politics. He got a BS from Central Michigan, served as a County Commissioner and County Treasurer and created the first land bank in the country in order to clear away vacant and abandoned structures.  He became President of the Center for Community Progress, a non-profit with those same goals.

In 2012, Dan Kildee ran for Congress and won easily, partly because he was replacing his uncle who retired from Congress.  In Congress, he has focused on supporting cities, raising the federal minimum wage, and strengthening American manufacturing. Republicans in Congress have been recruiting a former Michigan attorney general to run. Instead, they are stuck choosing between a former Trump official and a Businesswoman with a familiar Michigan name even if she isn’t the person who Michiganders are familiar with.  Help Dan Kildee keep a Democratic seat.  (237)

IA 03 R+2 Cindy Axne.  See Political Note #428

Of the three Democratic women who were elected to Iowa’s four-person Congressional delegation in 2018, the only one who survived 2020 is Cindy Axne.  She had defeated the incumbent by 2 points and defeated him again in 2020 by the same margin. For this round, she gave some public thought to running for governor.  Another day, perhaps.  She knows how to govern.

Cindy Axne spent a good part of her career working in Iowa’s Department of Administrative Services and Iowa’s Department of Management under Democratic governors.  A dominating figure known for having sharp elbows, her force and power is partly a product of being six feet tall and a former basketball player.  Under a Republican governor, she was assigned to the Department of Natural Resources and then was fired.

Cindy Axne is protecting herself. She needs to. Redistricting still leaves Des Moines in the district, but has made the IA 03 more southern and less southwestern Iowa.  She has raised $2.7 million. Entering 2022, she had $2 million available.  None of the three Republicans who want to oppose her have raised more than $300,000.  Getting elected to Congress and staying in Congress has become more and more expensive.  A donation to her now can make a difference. (207)

NJ 07 R+3 Tom Malinowski. See Political Note #363

Tom Malinowski is the man from Stupsk.  The boy from Stupsk, really.  He was six when his mother married American journalist Blair Clark and moved to the United States from Poland.  He grew up in Princeton, NJ, went to college at Berkeley, and won a Rhodes to attend Oxford for his Master’s Degree.

He worked for Human Rights Watch then became President Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor  — leading fights against persecution of religious minorities and Russian abuses of human rights. Tom Malinowski has been a target – of QAnon, which appears to have been responsible for death threats as they claimed he helped sexual predators “hide in the shadows.”  He has been a target of the Republicans – defeating their strongest possible candidate, Tom Kean Jr. in 2020 by a point.  Recently he has been a target of the Ethics Committee. He is one of two Democrats known for their integrity who carelessly failed to file stock trades in a timely fashion. Finally, he has been a target of redistricting.  What was once a D+4 district is now R+3.  His new district is more heavily in the western part of northern New Jersey..

Tom Kean is running against him again.  He had not announced during 2021 so had no reporting obligation before 2022. Kean will raise plenty.   Tom Malinowski began 2021 with $2.7 million cash available.  He will need more.  Of the incumbents in this group, he may be the most vulnerable.  Help him help us keep a Democratic majority.  (255)

KS 03 R+3 Sharice Davids See Political Note #412

Sharice Davids is a Native American who was raised in Kansas, went to Leavenworth HS, and took courses at a tribal university and a community college.  She earned her BA from University of MO – Kansas City and did so well, she was admitted to law school at Cornell.

This was not a straight line.  After high school, even while she was going to school, Sharice Davids had to work.  She was the assistant manager of a drive-in, drove for a wine company, served as a barista, coordinated meetings for a Marriot, and fought in Mixed Martial Arts bouts.  Finally, 27 years old, she completed her BA in 2007.  She completed law school in 2010, tried and disliked corporate work, which she abandoned for MMA.  She was selected for a two-year fellowship in the White House during President Barack Obama’s last year in office.

Sharice Davids used her business and political experience to help Native Americans create their own business.  She was visibly working to make the people of Kansas more prosperous.  KS 03, with its primarily suburban configuration, was ripe for an effective Democrat. In 2018, Sharice Davids won by 9 points and by 10 points in 2020.  She will not win by that much this time.

The Republican legislature has made the district much tougher for her to win.  Her opponent, Amanda Adkins, is a Washington Republican who has worked in the House, the Senate, and for the Republican Party.  She took a leave of absence from her well-connected health care firm to run against Sharice Davids in 2020.  National Republicans have made it easier for Adkins in 2022.

Sharice Davids will not make it easy for Amanda Adkins.  She entered 2022 with $2.3 Million to Adkins’ $1 million.  We should not make it easy for Adkins either.  We need to donate enough so Sharice Davidsexpands her lead.    (310)

PA 07 R+4 Susan Wild. See Political Note #394

PA 07 is in the Lehigh Valley north of Philadelphia.  Born in Wiedbaden AF Base, Susan Wild has lived in France, California, New Mexico, and DC. She is the daughter of an Air Force officer and a journalist, both of whom grew up poor and achieved success.  Her father became a conservative Republican. Her mother a liberal Democrat.  Susan Wild became a Democrat, a mediator, and a lawyer. She settled in the Lehigh Valley, which she describes as the only home she ever knew.

Her entry into politics was almost an accident.  A distinguished local attorney and failed candidate for County Commissioner, she was asked to serve as the solicitor for the city of Allentown.  When Allentown officials became the subject of a criminal investigation, Susan Wild managed her relationship with the evidence and the investigators in a way that earned unusual praise.  She established a reputation for integrity that extended right into a Congressional campaign.

Susan Wild’s personal life has affected her Congressional role.  Her husband

died from suicide during her first term.  She has refocused some of her Congressional work to support mental health services.  Her website particularly touts her work to lower drug costs, to strengthen health care networks, and to address the student loan crisis.  (209)

MI 07 R+4 Elissa Slotkin. See Political Note #378

Elected to the R+6 MI 08, redistricting has put her in MI 07 at R+4. Michigan’s capital Lansing is in the center of the new district. Michigan State University in East Lansing is not far off center in the district either.

Elissa Slotkin grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, not on the family farm which is more of a family retreat and a symbol of the family business. Her family’s famous Ball Park Franks were first sold at the Detroit Tigers’ baseball field.  Hygrade Foods produced more than hotdogs and was eventually sold to Tyson Foods.

Uncertain about a role in the family business, Elissa Slotkin began at Cornell in the school of agriculture.  She was in graduate school in public policy in New York City on 9/11. That terrible event led her to the CIA.  She did three tours of duty in Iraq and returned to Washington to work at the National Security Council and as Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Obama administration.

Back at the farm with her husband, an army Colonel and former helicopter pilot, she announced for Congress after her local Member of Congress celebrated the House’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  In Congress, she is considered a moderate, but was an early supporter of impeachment of President Trump.  So far, her principal opponent is a state senator who spent over 20 years in the military.  In the State Senate, he has dogged Democratic governor Christine Whitmer on issues related to Covid.  In the 2022 campaign he intends to make certain that Elissa Slotikin does not own the issue of support for the military. Let’s make certain that Elissa Slotkin has enough resources to more than defend herself.  (286)


CHALLENGERS. Six of them. Winning all six would be amazing.

OH 13 R+2 State Rep Emilia Sykes

How will this transition work?  Tim Ryan represented OH 13.  Long ago, he succeeded Congressman James Traficant, who was expelled from Congress for racketeering.  Tim Ryan, now running for the US Senate from Ohio, has been through a transition himself.  Initially, as blue-collar conservative as Traficant, whose staffer he was, he has become a blue-collar champion, while growing moderate to progressive on social issues.  He could win Ohio’s open US Senate seat with that combination.

And OH 13?  The Redistricting Commission and Ohio legislature have tried to make it a Republican district.  State Rep Emilia Sykes and the DCCC (which has declared her a Red-to-Blue candidate even though the district was previously represented by a Democrat) would like to make OH 13 one of that new phenomenon – a predominantly white district represented by a Black Member of Congress.

Emilia Sykes comes from a political family.  Consider that an understatement.  Either she or her mother or her father has represented Akron’s 34th Ohio district for almost 40 years.  Emilia Sykes was first elected to that district in 2014.  Now she is the Ohio House of Representatives Minority Leader and ready to move on to a place where Democrats sometimes have the majority.

If Donald Trump gets his way, the Republicans would nominate and elect Madison Gesiotto Gilbert to OH13.  She is an attorney, a former Trump campaign staffer, and a former Miss Ohio USA. To accommodate Donald Trump’s endorsements, Republican candidates have been hopping around the Board.  Max Miller, originally touted for OH13 has moved to OH 07.  Gilbert, originally planning to challenge Marcy Kaptur in OH09, switched to OH 13.

The DCCC has the right candidate in the right district.  Help keep Tim Ryan’s district Democratic.  (286)

CO 08 R+3 Yadera Caraveo

Colorado grew.  In 2022, it gets an additional Congressional District.  The Colorado legislature placed the new district north of Denver, extending almost as far north as Fort Collins. Colorado Democrats have coalesced their support for State Rep Yadera Caraveo.  Republicans, on the other hand, have five candidates competing.

Yadera Caraveo is the daughter of immigrants from Mexico who arrived, without documentation, in the 1970s. All four of their children earned college degrees.  Yadera Caraveo also earned her MD degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine.  A pediatrician, two-thirds of the children she sees are on Medicaid.

She is an activist.  As a medical resident, she organized a union.  She was elected to the Colorado legislature in 2018.  She sponsored a bill to provide free contraceptives and free reproductive care to undocumented immigrants.  She argued that studies have found that those services reduce maternal and infant mortality rates. She has also worked to reduce the cost of prescription medicines, to limit toxic pollution, to expand funds for preschool, and to increase access to paid family leave and paid sick leave.

An imaginative thinker and effective politician, in a short period of time, she has had a surprising number of successes.  Let’s make election to Congress Yadera Caraveo’s next success. (210)

OH 01 R+3 Greg Landsman. See Political Note #452

We still don’t know whether this is what the Ohio Congressional Districts will look like.  Three times, the Redistricting Committee has done its work after a fashion.  Three times the Ohio Supreme Court has declared that the proposed districts violated the Ohio constitution.  Filing deadlines have passed.  Primaries are scheduled for May 3.

Will the Ohio Supreme Court rewrite the Congressional districts and the state legislative districts?  Will the Ohio Supreme Court reschedule the filing deadlines and the primary?  Other State Supreme Courts have done both.  But Ohio’s Supreme Court may just let it slide.  That has happened before with a Supreme Court requirement that the state legislature change the school funding formula.

When it became clear to Cincinnati and national Democrats that the redistricting process had left incumbent Republican Steve Chabot vulnerable to a Democratic challenge, they sought and found the strongest possible challenger.  Greg Landsman is a popular city councilman.  Son of a Federated Department Stores executive, graduate of Ohio University and Harvard Divinity School, he had worked for Governor Ted Strickland’s anti-poverty efforts, returned home to work in non-profits and led an effort to support universal early childhood education.

A defeat and a misstep are important indicators of the kind of man he is.  Greg Landsman lost his first City Council race after which he took up boxing for recreation.  He incorporated boxing terminology into his political vocabulary and strengthened how people in Cincinnati viewed him.  He and other city council members sought to replace the city manager.  One of the group, not Greg Landsman, suggested a Deputy Mayor had used his wife’s cancer diagnosis for political gain.  The correspondence was made public because it had violated Ohio’s open meeting law requirements.  Greg Landsman apologized to the Deputy Mayor with such sincerity that it effected a reconciliation and smoothed relations in the City Council besides.

Greg Landsman is an admirable man and a strong candidate, strong enough so that with enough support, he can flip this seat.  Help him do just that.  (332)

NE 02 R+3 Tony Vargas See Political Note #453

Tony Vargas and his wife have become part of Nebraska’s progressive community.  His parents were born in Peru.  They moved to the United States for opportunity.  Tony Vargas was born in Queens, NY.  His parents moved to the Long Island suburbs for better educational opportunity.  And he went to the University of Rochester.  He graduated determined to be a teacher.

His wife, Lauren Micek, had a similar goal, but a different background.  She grew up in California and went to college in Texas – to Baylor.  They both got Master’s Degrees in Education from Pace University on Long Island.  Both worked for Teach for American and moved to Nebraska on behalf of Teach for America.  She went to law school, became a public defender, and became the Executive Director of the Education Rights Council of Omaha.  He became Executive Director of the Nebraska Association of Service Providers and was elected to the Nebraska State Senate.  He represented Omaha in the State Senate, but also, in a way, Latinos throughout the state, including those working in meat packing plants who were growing sick and dying from Covid.  He has earned widespread respect for his capacity to work with Republicans as well as Democrats on difficult issues.

The incumbent Republican Member of Congress, Don Bacon, has suffered a series of close calls.  He defeated the incumbent Democrat Brad Ashford by 3% in 2016, the progressive Kara Eastman by 2% in 2018, and, with the support of Brad Ashford’s wife, Kara Eastman again in 2020 by 5%.  The legislature redistricted NE02 to give Bacon Omaha plus slightly more Republican suburbs than had been in the district before.  Tony Vargas and his supporters could make up for that slight gerrymander with your help. In a recent poll, Tony Vargas was leading by a point. (299)

CA 40 R+4 Asif Mahmood. See Political Note #456

If we can elect Asif Mahmood, he would be the only Pakistani-American in Congress.  He would, of course, be one of a bunch of doctors in Congress.  His Republican opponent and the incumbent, to reflect the diversity of this Southern California district, is one of four Korean American Members of Congress.

Asif Mahmood describes himself as a problem solver.  He points to his medical work as well as his roles in the medical community and the community at large.  He volunteers at a free clinic and serves on the California Medical Board. He is an active supporter of UNICEF, is on the board of Southern California’s largest homeless shelter, the Valley Rescue Mission, and chairs the Organization for Social Media Safety, which opposes cyberbullying.

He solves the problem of opposing an incumbent by attacking her political positions – her opposition to abortion, her openness to drilling for oil in the Pacific, her opposition to the infrastructure bill in Congress.  Young Kim is not among the worst of the Republicans in Congress. She voted, for instance, to strip Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene’s committee assignments.

Not the worst is faint praise.  Asif Mahmood argues that Young Kim does not help California families.  She has opposed family reunification as a basis for immigration, for instance, with one exception.  Concerned about Korean Americans with family in North Korea, she proposed a law to prioritize reuniting divided Korean-American families.

Help Asif Mahmood.  He’ll need to raise a substantial amount of money to defeat this incumbent. (250)

IA 01 R+4 Christina Bohannan.  See Political Note #411

Christina Bohannan is running against incumbent Marianette Miller-Meeks, who won election in 2020 by 6 votes.  Considering how close her election was, she made a couple of concessions to moderation.  She supported the failed attempt to create a bipartisan investigation of the January 6 events. She accepted the electoral college votes that elected Joe Biden President.

There is a lot, however, for Christina Bohannan to quarrel with.  Miller-Meeks opposes the Affordable Care Act, opposes abortion unless the birth would harm the mother or the pregnancy arises from rape or incest, opposes same sex marriage, opposes the EPA’s regulation of waterways and coal plants, all the while describing herself as someone who wants government out of our lives.

Christina Bohannan is a particularly appealing candidate.  She grew up poor, in a trailer in Florida.  She worked her way through school and got an engineering degree from the University of Florida (some of that work was with the Florida Environmental Protection Agency).  She continued working and got a law degree from the the University of Florida.  Now, she is a law professor at the University of Iowa while also serving in the Iowa legislature.  In both roles, she has earned a reputation for tough questioning and clear analysis.  She is what we need in Congress.  Help her get there. (217)